keep tabs on (someone or something)(redirected from kept tabs on them)
keep tabs on (someone or something)
To routinely monitor or observe someone or something; to keep track of someone or something. It was revealed that the FBI kept tabs on him for years just because he once attended a meeting of a radical group. Keep tabs on the amount of feedback we get so that we know how many people this issue affects.
keep tabs on
Observe carefully, keep a record of. For example, I hate having my boss keep tabs on my every move, or We've got to keep tabs on outgoing mail so we can keep track of postage. This expression uses to tab in the sense of "an account." [Late 1800s] Also see keep track.
keep tabs on someone/something
COMMON If you keep tabs on someone or something, you make sure that you know what they are doing or what is happening to them, often in order to control them. We know that somebody was keeping tabs on her. It's their job to keep tabs on the financial situation. Note: Originally, this was an American expression which uses an American sense of `tab', meaning an account or bill, which can be used to keep a record of what someone spends.
keep tabs (or a tab) onmonitor the activities or development of; keep under close observation. informal
1978 Mario Puzo Fools Die Jordan knew that Merlyn the Kid kept tabs on everything he did.
keep (close) ˈtabs on somebody/something(informal) watch somebody/something very carefully; keep informed about somebody/something: I’m not sure about Johnson — we’d better keep tabs on him until we know we can trust him. ♢ I’m keeping tabs on the number of private phone calls you all make from the office.
keep tabs onInformal
To observe carefully over time: Let's keep tabs on expenditures.